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Henry M. Stanley.

How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley online

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Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 31 of 38)
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mouth of the swift and turbid Rugufu. Here we had again to transport the
caravan ever the crocodile-infested mouth of the river.

On the morning of the 31st we sent a canoe with men to search for food
in the two or three villages that were visible on the other side.
Four doti purchased just sufficient for four days for our caravan
of forty-eight persons. We then got under weigh, having informed the
kirangozi that Urimba was our destination, and bidding him keep as
closely as possible to the lake shore, where it was practicable, but
if not, to make the best he could of it. From the debouchement of the
Rugufu, the headwaters of which we had crossed on our random route
to Ujiji, to Urimba, a distance of six days by water, there are no
villages, and consequently no food. The shore party, however, before
leaving Ujiji, had eight days' rations, and on this morning four days',
distributed to each person, and therefore was in no danger of starvation
should the mountain headlands, now unfolding, abrupt and steep, one
after another, prevent them from communicating with us. It must be
understood that such a journey as this had never been attempted before
by any Arab or Msawahili, and every step taken was in sheer ignorance
of where the road would lead the men ashore. Rounding Kivoe's steep
promontory, whose bearded ridge and rugged slope, wooded down to the
water's edge, whose exquisite coves and quiet recesses, might well have
evoked a poetical effusion to one so inclined, we dared the chopping
waves of Kivoe's bay, and stood direct for the next cape, Mizohazy,
behind which, owing to wind and wave, we were compelled to halt for the
night.

After Mizohazy is the bold cape of Kabogo - not the terrible Kabogo
around whose name mystery has been woven by the superstitious
natives - not the Kabogo whose sullen thunder and awful roar were heard
when crossing the Rugufu on our flight from the Wahha - -but a point
in Ukaranga, on whose hard and uninviting rocks many a canoe has been
wrecked. We passed close to its forbidding walls, thankful for the
calm of the Tanganika. Near Kabogo are some very fine mvule trees, well
adapted for canoe building, and there are no loud-mouthed natives about
to haggle for the privilege of cutting them.

Along the water's edge, and about three feet above it, was observed very
clearly on the smooth face of the rocky slopes of Kabogo the high-water
mark of the lake. This went to show that the Tanganika, during the rainy
season, rises about three feet above its dry season level, and that,
during the latter season, evaporation reduces it to its normal level.
The number of rivers which we passed on this journey enabled me to
observe whether, as I was told, there was any current setting north.
It was apparent to me that, while the south-west, south, or south-east
winds blew, the brown flood of the rivers swept north; but it happened
that, while passing, once or twice, the mouths of rivers, after a
puff from the north-west and north, that the muddied waters were seen
southward of the mouths; from which I conclude that there is no current
in the Tanganika except such as is caused by the fickle wind.

Finding a snug nook of a bay at a place called Sigunga, we put in for
lunch. An island at the mouth of the bay suggested to our minds that
this was a beautiful spot for a mission station; the grandly sloping
hills in the background, with an undulating shelf of land well-wooded
between them and the bay, added to the attractions of such a spot.
The island, capable of containing quite a large village, and perfectly
defensible, might, for prudence' sake, contain the mission and its
congregation; the landlocked bay would protect their fishery and trade
vessels; more than sustain a hundred times the number of the population
of the island. Wood for building their canoes and houses is close at
hand; the neighbouring country would afford game in abundance; and the
docile and civil people of Ukaranga but wait religious shepherds.

From beautiful Sigunga, after a brief halt, we set off, and, after
three hours, arrived at the mouth of the River Uwelasia. Hippopotami
and crocodiles being numerous; we amused ourselves by shooting at them,
having also a hope of attracting the attention of our shore party, the
sound of whose guns we had not heard since leaving the Rugufu.

On the 3rd of January we left Uwelasia, and, passing by Cape Herembe,
were in the bay of Tongwe. This bay is about twenty-five miles broad,
and stretches from Cape Herembe to Cape Tongwe. Finding themselves so
near their destination, Urimba being but six miles from Herembe Point,
the men of both boats bent themselves to their oars, and, with shouts,
songs, and laughter, encouraged each other to do their utmost. The flags
of the two great Anglo-Saxon nations rippled and played in the soft
breeze, sometimes drawing near caressingly together, again bending away,
like two lovers coy to unite. The tight little boat of the Doctor would
keep ahead, and the crimson and crossed flag of England would wave
before me, and it seemed to say to the beautiful laggard astern, "Come
on, come on; England leads the way." But was it not England's place
to be in the front here? She won the right to it by discovering the
Tanganika; America came but second.

Urimba, though a large district of Kawendi, has a village of the
same name peopled by refugees from Yombeh, who found the delta of
the Loajeri, though the unhealthiest of spots - equal to that of the
Rusizi - far preferable to the neighbourhood of Sultan Pumburu, of
Southern Kawendi. A good chase by the victors seems to have given a
shock to their systems, for they are very timid and distrustful of
strangers, and would by no means permit us to enter their village, of
which, to say the truth, I was very glad, after a glance at the
reeking corruption on which they were encamped. In the immediate
neighbourhood - nay, for a couple of miles on either side - I should
suppose that to a white man it were death to sleep a single night.
Leading the way south of the village, I found a fit camping-place at
the extreme south-east corner of Tongwe Bay, about a mile and a half due
west of the lofty peak of Kivanga, or Kakungu. By an observation taken
by the Doctor, we found ourselves to be in latitude 5 degrees 54 minutes
south.

None of the natives had heard of our shore party, and, as the delta of
the Loajeri and Mogambazi extended for about fifteen miles, and withal
was the most impassable of places, being perfectly flat, overgrown with
the tallest of matete, eschinomenae, and thorny bush, and flooded with
water, it was useless to fatigue our men searching for the shore party
in such an inhospitable country. No provisions were procurable, for the
villages were in a state of semi-starvation, the inhabitants living from
hand to mouth on what reluctant Fortune threw into their nets.

The second day of our arrival at Urimba I struck off into the
interior with my gun-bearer, Kalulu, carrying the Doctor's splendid
double-barreled rifle (a Reilly, No. 12), on the search for venison.
After walking about a mile I came to a herd of zebras. By creeping on
all-fours I managed to come within one hundred yards of them; but I was
in a bad spot - low prickly shrubs; and tsetse flies alighting on the
rifle-sight, biting my nose, and dashing into my eyes, completely
disconcerted me; and, to add to my discontent, my efforts to disengage
myself from the thorns, alarmed the zebras, which all stood facing the
suspicious object in the bush. I fired at the breast of one, but, as
might be expected, missed. The zebras galloped away to about three
hundred yards off, and I dashed into the open, and, hastily cocking the
left-hand trigger, aimed at a proud fellow trotting royally before his
fellows, and by good chance sent a bullet through his heart. A fortunate
shot also brought down a huge goose, which had a sharp horny spur on
the fore part of each wing. This supply of meat materially contributed
towards the provisioning of the party for the transit of the unknown
land that lay between us and Mrera, in Rusawa, Kawendi.

It was not until the third day of our arrival at our camp at Urimba that
our shore party arrived. They had perceived our immense flag hoisted on
a twenty-feet long bamboo above the tallest tree near our camp as they
surmounted the sharp lofty ridge behind Nerembe, fifteen miles off, and
had at first taken it for a huge bird; but there were sharp eyes in the
crowd, and, guided by it, they came to camp, greeted as only lost and
found men are greeted.

I suffered from another attack of fever at this camp, brought on by the
neighbourhood of the vile delta, the look of which sickened the very
heart in me.

On the 7th of January we struck camp, and turned our faces eastward,
and for me, home! Yet regretfully! There had been enough happiness and
pleasure, and pleasantest of social companionship found on the shores
of the lake for me. I had seen enough lovely scenes which, siren-like,
invited one to quiet rest; gentle scenes, where there was neither jar
nor tumult, neither strife nor defeat, neither hope nor disappointment,
but rest-a drowsy, indolent, yet pleasant rest. And only a few drawbacks
to these. There was fever; there were no books, no newspapers, no wife
of my own race and blood, no theatres, no hotels, no restaurants, no
East River oysters, no mince-pies, neither buckwheat cakes, nor anything
much that was good for a cultivated palate to love. So, in turning to
say farewell to the then placid lake and the great blue mountains, that
grew bluer as they receded on either hand, I had the courage to utter
that awful word tearlessly, and without one sigh.

Our road led up through the valley of the Loajeri, after leaving its
delta, a valley growing ever narrower, until it narrowed into a ravine
choked by the now roaring, bellowing river, whose resistless rush seemed
to affect the very air we breathed. It was getting oppressive, this
narrowing ravine, and opportunely the road breasted a knoll, then a
terrace, then a hill, and lastly a mountain, where we halted to encamp.
As we prepared to select a camping-place, the Doctor silently pointed
forward, and suddenly a dead silence reigned everywhere. The quinine
which I had taken in the morning seemed to affect me in every crevice of
my brain; but a bitter evil remained, and, though I trembled under the
heavy weight of the Reilly rifle, I crept forward to where the Doctor
was pointing. I found myself looking down a steep ravine, on the other
bank of which a fine buffalo cow was scrambling upward. She had just
reached the summit, and was turning round to survey her enemy, when I
succeeded in planting a shot just behind the shoulder blade, and close
to the spine, evoking from her a deep bellow of pain. "She is shot! she
is shot!" exclaimed the Doctor; "that is a sure sign you have hit her."
And the men even raised a shout at the prospect of meat. A second,
planted in her spine, brought her to her knees, and a third ended her.
We thus had another supply of provisions, which, cut up and dried over
a fire, as the Wangwana are accustomed to do, would carry them far over
the unpeopled wilderness before us. For the Doctor and myself, we had
the tongue, the hump, and a few choice pieces salted down, and in a few
days had prime corned beef. It is not inapt to state that the rifle had
more commendations bestowed on it than the hunter by the Wangwana.

The next day we continued the march eastward, under the guidance of
our kirangozi; but it was evident, by the road he led us, that he knew
nothing of the country, though, through his volubility, he had led us to
believe that he knew all about Ngondo, Yombeh, and Pumburu's districts.
When recalled from the head of the caravan, we were about to descend
into the rapid Loajeri, and beyond it were three ranges of impassable
mountains, which we were to cross in a north-easterly direction; quite
out of our road. After consulting with the Doctor, I put myself at the
head of the caravan, and following the spine of the ridge, struck off
due east, regardless of how the road ran. At intervals a travelled road
crossed our path, and, after following it a while, we came to the ford
of the Loajeri. The Loajeri rises south and south-east of Kakungu Peak.
We made the best we could of the road after crossing the river, until
we reached the main path that runs from Karah to Ngondo and Pumburu, in
Southern Kawendi.

On the 9th, soon after leaving camp, we left the travelled path, and
made for a gap in the are of hills before us, as Pumburu was at war with
the people of Manya Msenge, a district of northern Kawendi. The country
teemed with game, the buffaloes and zebras were plentiful. Among the
conspicuous trees were the hyphene and borassus palm trees, and a tree
bearing a fruit about the size of a 600-pounder cannon-ball, called by
some natives "mabyah,"* according to the Doctor, the seeds of which are
roasted and eaten. They are not to be recommended as food to Europeans.

* In the Kisawahili tongue, "mabyah," "mbyah, "byah," mean
bad, unpleasant.

On the 10th, putting myself at the head of my men, with my compass in
hand, I led the way east for three hours. A beautiful park-land was
revealed to us; but the grass was very tall, and the rainy season, which
had commenced in earnest, made my work excessively disagreeable. Through
this tall grass, which was as high as my throat, I had to force my way,
compass in hand, to lead the Expedition, as there was not the least sign
of a road, and we were now in an untravelled country. We made our camp
on a beautiful little stream flowing north; one of the feeders of the
Rugufu River.

The 11th still saw me plunging through the grass, which showered drops
of rain on me every time I made a step forward. In two hours we crossed
a small stream, with slippery syenitic rocks in its bed, showing the
action of furious torrents. Mushrooms were in abundance, and very large.
In crossing, an old pagazi of Unyamwezi, weather-beaten, uttered, in
a deplorable tone, "My kibuyu is dead;" by which he meant that he had
slipped, and in falling had broken his gourd, which in Kisawahili is
"kibuyu."

On the eastern bank we halted for lunch, and, after an hour and a half's
march, arrived at another stream, which I took to be the Mtambu, at
first from the similarity of the land, though my map informed me that it
was impossible. The scenery around was very similar, and to the north we
had cited a similar tabular hill to the "Magdala" Mount I had discovered
north of Imrera, while going to the Malagarazi. Though we had only
travelled three and a half hours the Doctor was very tired as the
country was exceedingly rough.

The next day, crossing several ranges, with glorious scenes of
surpassing beauty everywhere around us, we came in view of a mighty and
swift torrent, whose bed was sunk deep between enormous lofty walls of
sandstone rock, where it roared and brawled with the noise of a little
Niagara.

Having seen our camp prepared on a picturesque knoll, I thought I would
endeavour to procure some meat, which this interesting region seemed to
promise. I sallied out with my little Winchester along the banks of the
river eastward. I travelled for an hour or two, the prospect getting
more picturesque and lovely, and then went up a ravine which looked very
promising. Unsuccessful, I strode up the bank, and my astonishment may
be conceived when I found myself directly in front of an elephant, who
had his large broad ears held out like studding sails - the colossal
monster, the incarnation of might of the African world. Methought when
I saw his trunk stretched forward, like a warning finger, that I heard
a voice say, "Siste, Venator!" But whether it did not proceed from my
imagination or - No; I believe it proceeded from Kalulu, who must have
shouted, "Tembo, tembo! bana yango!" "Lo! an elephant! an elephant, my
master!"

For the young rascal had fled as soon as he had witnessed the awful
colossus in such close vicinage. Recovering from my astonishment, I
thought it prudent to retire also - especially, with a pea-shooter loaded
with treacherous sawdust cartridges in my hand. As I looked behind, I
saw him waving his trunk, which I understood to mean, "Good-bye, young
fellow; it is lucky for you you went in time, for I was going to pound
you to a jelly."

As I was congratulating myself, a wasp darted fiercely at me and planted
its sting in my neck, and for that afternoon my anticipated pleasures
were dispelled. Arriving at camp I found the men grumbling; their
provisions were ended, and there was no prospect for three days, at
least, of procuring any. With the improvidence usual with the gluttons,
they had eaten their rations of grain, all their store of zebra and
dried buffalo meat, and were now crying out that they were famished.

The tracks of animals were numerous, but it being the rainy season the
game was scattered everywhere; whereas, had we travelled during the dry
season through these forests our larders might have been supplied fresh
each day.

Some time about 6 P.M., as the Doctor and I were taking our tea outside
the tent, a herd of elephants, twelve in number, passed about 800 yards
off. Our fundi, Asmani and Mabruki Kisesa, were immediately despatched
in pursuit. I would have gone myself with the heavy Reilly rifle, only
I was too much fatigued. We soon heard their guns firing, and hoped
they were successful, as a plentiful supply of meat might then have been
procured, while we ourselves would have secured one of the elephant's
feet for a nice delicate roast; but within an hour they returned
unsuccessful, having only drawn blood, some of which they exhibited to
us on a leaf.

It requires a very good rifle to kill an African elephant. A No. 8 bore
with a Frazer's shell, planted in the temple, I believe, would drop an
elephant each shot. Faulkner makes some extraordinary statements,
about walking up in front of an elephant and planting a bullet in his
forehead, killing him instantly. The tale, however, is so incredible
that I would prefer not to believe it; especially when he states that
the imprint of the muzzle of his rifle was on the elephant's trunk.
African travellers - especially those with a taste for the chase - are too
fond of relating that which borders on the incredible for ordinary men
to believe them. Such stories must be taken with a large grain of salt,
for the sake of the amusement they afford to readers at home. In future,
whenever I hear a man state how he broke the back of an antelope at 600
yards, I shall incline to believe a cipher had been added by a slip of
the pen, or attribute it to a typographical error, for this is almost an
impossible feat in an African forest. It may be done once, but it could
never be done twice running. An antelope makes a very small target at
600 yards distance; but, then, all these stories belong by right divine
to the chasseur who travels to Africa for the sake only of sport.

On the 13th we continued our march across several ridges; and the series
of ascents and descents revealed to us valleys and mountains never
before explored streams; rushing northward, swollen by the rains, and
grand primeval forests, in whose twilight shade no white man ever walked
before.

On the 14th the same scenes were witnessed - an unbroken series of
longitudinal ridges, parallel one with another and with Lake Tanganika.
Eastward the faces of these ridges present abrupt scarps and terraces,
rising from deep valleys, while the western declivities have gradual
slopes. These are the peculiar features of Ukawendi, the eastern
watershed of the Tanganika.

In one of these valleys on this day we came across a colony of
reddish-bearded monkeys, whose howls, or bellowing, rang amongst the
cliffs as they discovered the caravan. I was not able to approach
them, for they scrambled up trees and barked their defiance at me, then
bounded to the ground as I still persisted in advancing; and they would
have soon drawn me in pursuit if I had not suddenly remembered that my
absence was halting the Expedition.

About noon we sighted our Magdala - the grand towering mount whose
upright frowning mass had attracted our eyes, as it lifted itself from
above the plain in all its grandeur, when we were hurrying along the
great ridge of Rusawa towards the "Crocodile" River. We recognised
the old, mystic beauty of the tree-clad plain around it. Then it
was bleached, and a filmy haze covered it lovingly; now it was vivid
greenness. Every vegetable, plant, herb and tree, had sprung into quick
life - the effect of the rains. Rivers that ran not in those hot summer
days now fumed and rushed impetuously between thick belts of mighty
timber, brawling hoarsely in the glades. We crossed many of these
streams, all of which are feeders of the Rugufu.

Beautiful, bewitching Ukawendi! By what shall I gauge the loveliness of
the wild, free, luxuriant, spontaneous nature within its boundaries? By
anything in Europe? No. By anything in Asia? Where? India, perhaps. Yes;
or say Mingrelia and Imeritia. For there we have foaming rivers; we have
picturesque hillocks; we have bold hills, ambitious mountains, and broad
forests, with lofty solemn rows of trees, with clean straight stems,
through which you can see far, lengthy vistas, as you see here. Only in
Ukawendi you can almost behold the growth of vegetation; the earth is
so generous, nature so kind and loving, that without entertaining any
aspiration for a residence, or a wish to breathe the baleful atmosphere
longer than is absolutely necessary, one feels insensibly drawn towards
it, as the thought creeps into his mind, that though all is foul beneath
the captivating, glamorous beauty of the land, the foulness might be
removed by civilized people, and the whole region made as healthy as
it is productive. Even while staggering under the pressure of the awful
sickness, with mind getting more and more embittered, brain sometimes
reeling with the shock of the constantly recurring fevers - though I
knew how the malaria, rising out of that very fairness, was slowly
undermining my constitution, and insidiously sapping the powers of mind
and body - I regarded the alluring face of the land with a fatuous love,
and felt a certain sadness steal over me as each day I was withdrawing
myself from it, and felt disposed to quarrel with the fate that seemed
to eject me out of Ukawendi.

On the ninth day of our march from the shores of the Tanganika we
again perceived our "Magdala Mount," rising like a dark cloud to the
north-east, by which I knew that we were approaching Imrera, and that
our Icarian attempt to cross the uninhabited jungle of Ukawendi would
soon be crowned with success. Against the collective counsel of the
guides, and hypothetical suggestions of the tired and hungry souls of
our Expedition, I persisted in being guided only by the compass and my
chart. The guides strenuously strove to induce me to alter my course and
strike in a south-west direction, which, had I listened to them, would
have undoubtedly taken me to South-western Ukonongo, or North-eastern
Ufipa. The veteran and experienced soldiers asked mournfully if I were
determined to kill them with famine, as the road I should have taken
was north-east; but I preferred putting my trust in the compass. No sun
shone upon us as we threaded our way through the primeval forest, by
clumps of jungle, across streams, up steep ridges, and down into deep
valleys. A thick haze covered the forests; rain often pelted us; the
firmament was an unfathomable depth of grey vapour. The Doctor had
perfect confidence in me, and I held on my way.

As soon as we arrived at our camp the men scattered themselves through
the forest to search for food. A grove of singwe trees was found close
by. Mushrooms grew in abundance, and these sufficed to appease the
gnawing hunger from which the people suffered. Had it not been such
rainy weather I should have been enabled to procure game for the camp;
but the fatigue which I suffered, and the fever which enervated me,
utterly prevented me from moving out of the camp after we once came to
a halt. The fear of lions, which were numerous in our vicinity, whose
terrible roaring was heard by day and by night, daunted the hunters so
much, that though I offered five doti of cloth for every animal brought
to camp, none dared penetrate the gloomy glades, or awesome belts of
timber, outside the friendly defence of the camp.

The morning of the tenth day I assured the people that we were close
to food; cheered the most amiable of them with promise of abundant



Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 31 of 38)